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3 Jun 2003 : Column 119W—continued

World Trade Organisation

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made at the WTO on new agreements on agriculture. [116036]

Mr. Morley: There has been substantial progress at the WTO towards a new Agreement on Agriculture. Although it is disappointing that the deadline of 31 March 2003 for conclusion of modalities could not be met, all parties remain fully committed to the negotiations with a view to reaching agreement at the fifth meeting of the WTO Ministerial Conference, due to be held in Cancun, Mexico this September.


BBC v. Prolife Alliance

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will place in the Library copies of the correspondence sent from her Department relating to the judgment in the case of the BBC v. ProLife Alliance on 10 April 2003. [109710]

Dr. Howells: There has been no correspondence sent from this Department relating to the recent judgment. However, at the time of the proceedings in February my Department was alerted to a possible ambiguity in the drafting of provisions in the Communications Bill which were relevant to the ProLife case and a letter was put into court making clear the Government's policy intentions. I am arranging for that letter to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. An amendment to the Communications Bill to ensure that the drafting more clearly reflected the Government's intentions was tabled in the other place on 9 May 2003.

Tourist Industry Assistance

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much has been allocated to assisting the tourist industry since September 2001; what assessment has been undertaken on the extent of recovery in the industry; and what further plans she has to attract foreign visitors to the UK. [115171]

Dr. Howells: Since 2001 DCMS has allocated the following funding for tourism.

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£ million
BTA grant in aid35.5
BTA tourism recovery14.2
ETC grant in aid11.0
ETC tourism recovery3.8
ETC capital modernisation fund0.6
Tourism total67
BTA grant in aid35.5
BTA Million Visitor Campaign19.0
ETC grant in aid11.6
ETC Million Visitor Campaign1.0
ETC Invest to Save2.4
ETC capital modernisation fund0.3
Tourism total71.7
Overseas promotion35.5
Domestic promotion(16)14.1
VisitBritain Reform2.0
EnglandNet: ISB1.2
Tourism total54.7

(16) £14.1 million is the total resource available in relation to England with the exception of London. It is not all allocated to VisitBritain. At least £3.6 million will be deployed through the regional development agencies, and other partners will be allocated some of it to reflect transfer of functions.

The industry experienced a good recovery in 2002 and in the first quarter of 2003 total inbound visitors were back to the same level as two years ago (just prior to the impact of foot and mouth disease).

In addition, to its on-going campaigns in our key markets around the world, VisitBritain is running two partner campaigns this year: a short break campaign in the autumn in the European markets and an American campaign in the summer.

English Heritage

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions have taken place with English Heritage regarding provision of maintenance work on historic buildings. [115169]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, has regular discussions with the chairman and chief executive of English Heritage on its activities at a strategic level. There have been no recent discussions regarding maintenance work on historic buildings, day-to-day decisions which are the responsibility of English Heritage.


Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she received the Treasury documents relating to the five economic tests and the 18 background studies; what discussions she has held with ministerial colleagues on the tests since receipt of the documents; when she expects to complete her analysis of the documents; and what representations (a) she and (b) departmental officials will make to other Departments before a decision is reached on the economic tests. [115394]

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Tessa Jowell: The Treasury's 18 supporting studies on EMU were sent to Cabinet Ministers on 16 May. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor are holding meetings with Cabinet Members. There was an initial discussion at Cabinet on 22 May that will be followed by a special Cabinet meeting on 5 June. The Chancellor will make a statement to the House of Commons on 9 June.


Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when football clubs will be paid the money due by the end of April to fund centres of excellence and academies for youth players; what the reasons are for the time taken to make the payments; what arrangements have been made to ensure that future payments are paid on time; and if she will make a statement. [115764]

Mr. Caborn: The Government are committed to making up the £6 million shortfall in funding for the Football League's Youth Development Programme. This covers seasons 2002–03 to 2005–06, and the commitment followed the reduction in payments to the Programme from Sport England.

The Government are working towards including the £6 million in a wider funding package for sport and the arts. The many demands from these sectors for Lottery and Exchequer funding have ensured that completing this package has not been a straightforward matter. However, I expect that the package will be finalised before the beginning of the 2003–04 season. The arrangements for payment over the period of the commitment to the Youth Programme will then be matters for the League and the relevant funding body.


Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to her oral answer of 19 May 2003, what action the Coalition is taking to protect the ziggurat-stepped pyramid at Ur; and if she will make a statement. [115106]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 22 May 2003]: We are in the process of securing reports about the status of significant cultural and historic sites in Iraq. Coalition troops are in place to protect key sites, including the ziggurat-stepped pyramid at Ur. An official from my Department visited and inspected the ziggurat-stepped pyramid at Ur with an archaeologist on 21 May and found it to be in good order. Contrary to reports in the press, there was no evidence of graffiti.

Leisure Facilities (Crosby)

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what actions she has taken to protect sports fields and play facilities in the Crosby constituency. [116285]

Mr. Caborn: We have put in place a number of strong legislative measures and checks to the planning system to ensure that playing fields can be protected throughout England, including the Crosby constituency. New planning guidance on open spaces, sport and recreation has also been published which provides robust guidelines for local planning authorities about the need to protect playing fields and open spaces and strongly emphasises

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the need for local authorities to undertake rigorous needs assessments for local playing fields and sports facilities, when considering development on these sites or the creation of new facilities.

This Department recognises the crucial importance of play and in partnership with Sure Start is conducting a review of children's play, which will report in the summer. The review will identify how funding for children's play can be spent most effectively. Although no action has been taken specifically to protect play facilities in the Crosby constituency, the review has identified the need to improve existing play opportunities and develop new ones.

National Lottery

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if she will make a statement on the future of the New Opportunities fund; [114094]

Tessa Jowell: I announced my intention to proceed with plans to merge the Community fund and New Opportunities fund in February, to create a new community Lottery distributor. The new body would set the pace for modernising delivery of Lottery funding, allowing better coordination and more efficient distribution of funding, and identify and implement programmes to transform communities. We are consulting with the voluntary sector and other interested parties, and these discussions will feed into proposals on the future of Lottery distribution which we intend to publish in the summer.

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